Many New Yorkers erupted in fits of rage this past week as news of a planned luxury condo with a “poor door” took the internet by storm. The building, which is currently under construction at 40 Riverside Boulevard on the Upper West Side, will be a 33-story building with 219 units, 55 of which will be located on floors two through six and will face the street. The developer, Extell, plans to section off these 55 units and offer them at a significantly lower price. Residents in these units will enter the building through a separate door, and they will be prohibited from using additional facilities in the building, such as the gym and swimming pool.
This plan is completely in accordance with the city’s Inclusionary Housing program, which allows developers to use more space and offers a substantial tax break, if they agree to include units designated as affordable housing options. This development deal (more often referred to as a “poor door policy”) is nothing new, and many residential buildings in New York City already abide by this policy, as reported by the Gothamist.
But Extell’s latest endeavor seems to be adding fuel to the fire surrounding the “poor door policy.” The building — which has just been approved — has not been well-received by local residents or by news sources. The affordable housing policy, critics state, was never intended as a way of separating New York’s wealthiest from its “second class citizens” (also known as “average Americans” everywhere else in the country). Rather than providing affordable housing options and bringing life into a community, the policy seems to be a draconian method of separating citizens by wealth, these critics argue.
Although the development of this particular building is unlikely to be stopped, it has brought many real estate experts and economists together to brainstorm new ways of making housing affordable and convenient without causing a “class separation” based on wealth. A growing number of middle-class Americans are starting to prefer apartments and condos for their convenience, but situations like the Extell development leave many wondering if these buildings will only exacerbate wealth gaps.